This article was first published in China Change website on September 4, 2018
The Governments of Australia, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States, and the European Council:
We are a group of students, scholars, and professionals from China and Chinese-occupied territories. We call upon you to urge China to release the well-regarded Uyghur human rights leader Prof. Ilham Tohti, amid reports of students, scholars, and professionals disappearing and dying in concentration camps and prisons in the occupied region of East Turkestan (known as Xinjiang in Chinese).
The Chinese occupying authorities are cracking down on Uyghurs with the use of widespread surveillance, language restrictions, elimination of cultural and religious expression, forcible political indoctrination, family separation, and mass incarceration. Prof. Ilham criticized oppressive policies such as these and called for dialogue, reconciliation and the regional autonomy China promised. Serving a life sentence now, he has suffered physical abuse and been banned from corresponding with his family.
The Chinese occupiers have kidnapped Uyghur intellectuals, including Prof. Halmurat Ghophur, a prominent medical scientist, and Prof. Rahile Dawut, a respected specialist on Uyghur culture. In China’s camps and jails, notable detainees have been tortured to death, including Imam Muhammad Salih Hajim, the first scholar to translate the Quran into Uyghur, and at least two students who had been forced to return from Egypt. Such disappearances and deaths make us extremely worried about Prof. Ilham’s life.
To save Prof. Ilham from the most systematic and large-scale ethnic cleansing taking place in the world today, we appeal for you to exert intense pressure on the Chinese regime. We look forward to the international community’s moral courage facing China — the same that it showed in the face of the Nazi menace.
Lebao Wu (吴乐宝, student, Australia, Twitter: @MerlotN)
Sulaiman Gu (苏莱曼·古懿, student, United States, Twitter: @slmngy001)